Vanilla Wafers

in Baby & Toddler Friendly, Cookies and Bars, DIY

Homemade Vanilla Wafers

Growing up, Nilla Wafers were a big hit snack in our house. They went into mom’s banana pudding and dad’s chocolate pudding. They were smeared with peanut butter and made into sandwich cookies. They were eaten plain, straight from the box, and enjoyed just as much!

I make Homemade Vanilla Wafers and graham crackers (recipe coming soon) so the The Foodie Baby can have something crumbly and messy to go with her afternoon banana snack. Because you can never scrub too many dried food stuffs out of the cracks of your floor!

I have “plenty” of “extra” time since retiring from the world of technical writing and project management to do “crazy” stuff like this. Truth is, I have approximately 21 minutes of free time during the day. I can whip up a batch of vanilla wafer dough and still have a couple of minutes to knock out a couple of moves in Words With Friends.

It might sound a bit much to make Homemade Vanilla Wafers but it’s a super low-maintenance recipe and it makes a ton. I divide the dough into three logs and get ~15 cookies out of each. The two other logs go into the freezer until we’re ready for more cookies. I slice the frozen dough straight from the freezer, bake, and have cookies for the whole family to snack on for the week.

I was a little disappointed the first time I made the cookies. They spread quite a bit and didn’t hold their shape. They were good, but not pretty. I went back and added an extra 1/4 – 1/3 cup of flour to the dough and they didn’t budge on the baking sheet.

Now, these aren’t copycat or knock-off Nilla Wafers. I think these are much better for at least snacking (I haven’t tried them in pudding, yet). These are buttery, vanilla-y, sweet, shortbread-like cookies. No preservatives or stabilizers. No non-sugar sweeteners. Just good, vanilla wafer cookies.

Homemade Vanilla Wafers

Buttery shortbread-like cookies studded with vanilla bean flecks.


  • 2 sticks butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
  • 2 1/3 cup flour


  1. Put butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on medium-high 3-4 minutes, until butter is light and fluffy. Set mixer to low and add the egg yolks, vanilla, and beat until blended. Scrape down the bowl, and add flour. Beat until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a log 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (or freeze until solid).
  3. Preheat an oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment/silpat. Remove the plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife and cut each unwrapped log into 1/4 inch slices. Place the cookies an inch apart on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake the cookies until the edges and bottoms are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.


Yields: ~45 cookies

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Estimated time: 25 minutes

22 comments… add one
  • Mala

    Where do you get vanilla bean paste?!?

  • I love nilla wafers and can’t wait to try these. I also can’t wait to see your graham cracker recipe. I love graham crackers even more and have been considering looking for my own recipe to try sometime!

  • Delia

    I’m sure halfway through baking these I’ll regret it, but I actually want to try this.

  • I’m going to have to keep this recipe on the back burner for when I want to surprise people.

  • My mom always tells me I’m crazy but i totally plan on making all of the baby food/snacks for my future family from scratch. I just have no room for preservatives in my life! These wafers look absolutely delicious. Way better than Nillas, in my opinion.

  • I am going to make some for Miss F this weekend, thanks for sharing!

  • I love how PURE these are. None of those funny ingredients you don’t know how to pronounce. That alone makes it worth the effort, large or small, in my opinion. Thanks for sharing!

  • Cindy

    Girl your timing was PERFECT. I’m sitting here making a list of things to make for my 3 deployed soldiers (hubby, son and daughter are all in Iraq together flying Apaches). Our family love love loves Nilla Wafers and cinnamon Grahams. I have a good graham recipe but was browsing for a good vanilla wafer recipe. I have added yours to my list and can’t wait to whip them up! And as I can’t leave well enough alone, I’m think that adding some lavender buds to your vanilla wafers would be a great B Day gift for my best girlfriend that has a lavender fetish. Keep up the good work lil momma….I admire all the gals out there that choose to stay home with their babies today. Not as easy choice to make as when mine were tiny. Enjoy every minute of taking care of the new family, cuz it goes faster than you think it will!!

  • oh man. i totally loved nilla wafers as a kid. haven’t had them in years. i can’t wait to try these!

  • I cannot wait to make these for my granddaughter!

  • great recipe! so simple. 🙂 that vanilla bean paste is calling my name, but surious about what all is in it… those pastes tend to have preservatives, etc. saving the recipe ( until i decide!

    • You can always use vanilla extract (or vanilla extract + scrapings of 1 vanilla bean if you want the vanilla bean flecks) in place of the paste. According to the label, it doesn’t have any preservatives in it.

  • Selena

    Ooh Ooh, I can not wait to try this recipe out. When I bring vanilla wafers my honey gets a cute little boy grin on his face. I think he will love some made with love and from scratch! Thank you for the recipe. Love your blog!!!

  • Rob

    fixin’ to give this a go in just a little bit….just what I was looking for: simple and easy….and I’m sure it will be good! Please do let me/us know when the graham cracker recipe is available. Thanks…can’t wait to try these!

  • I randomly googled “homemade vanilla wafers”, and you were #1!!! I am so excited to try this recipe this weekend…I have been craving these bad boys but didn’t want to buy a processed package. SO glad you will be my recipe source. 🙂 This means a kitchen victory by default.

    • I hope you like them! They’re different from the packaged cookies but they’re addicting in their very own fancy, buttery, and crumbly way 🙂 I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. That recipe has gotten some serious mileage in this house!

  • Angie R.

    We made these and they are SO good. I love how they’re not as ‘crispy’ like Nilla wafers. I used them in my banana pudding, which I make from scratch, and I think it was the best banana pudding ever! I love how they don’t get completely mushy like Nilla wafers – they still have a bite, even the next day.

  • Laydblu

    These are awesome in banana pudding. Used the cookies for crushed layers and a vanilla custard. My 13 yr old and I ate all the cookies in 3 days with the vanilla custard.

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